Studies suggest that people prefer more being on social media than on space! The existence that social media has in the life of an individual is extraordinary. It is people like Shekhar Kripalani, more commonly known as ShakesProd, who makes it worthwhile. A singer, content creator and an entertainer, the talented guy does it all to keep his audience entertained and hooked to his content. During a conversation with TINDS, Shekhar shares his amazing story of coming this far making a presence for himself on social media.
TINDS: Where were you born?
TINDS: What was your childhood like?
Shekhar: I grew up mainly within the South-Asian community. It’s a huge South-Asian population here, it was kind of like being brought up within the culture and understanding our roots became quite easy. It was a good experience being brought up in America with a bunch of Indian people. I remember every week going to the music store to pick up a new Bollywood movie. I basically grew up on Bollywood music and movies. That’s kind of where my touch with the culture comes from.
TINDS: How many siblings do you have?
Shekhar: I have a sister who actually grew up singing and was classically trained as a musician. I on the other hand never sang while growing up, I would just accompany her to the classes. I remember when I told my parents later that I wanted to sing and they were shocked.
TINDS: Tell us a little about your parents?
Shekhar: There’s always been a mix of both American and Indian culture I guess. We grew up a lot relating to the cultural background like we see in the movies. But my parents have always been very understanding. They knew what goes on in America and how exactly they wanted to bring up their kids. It wasn’t like they taught us only one side of the spectrum and have always been encouraging. My dad motivated me to play the drums and at the same time encouraged me to play cricket even. There was always a balance. Growing up in America and having your parents blend in the brown culture, that’s what I am a product of basically.
TINDS: What do your parents do and how did you get to the states?
Shekhar: It was my dad’s parents who initially moved to the states and my parents kind of tagged along. My father is in the garments manufacturing industry which has been pretty consistent from my childhood up until now. My mom is a cosmetologist and a very creative person in general. She used to be a dancer when she was younger, I feel I relate a lot to mother in many ways. That’s kind of where the motivation comes from. The urge, drive and passion to have a name or become something is embedded in me because of how I grew up.
TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best?
Shekhar: Creative, Ambitious & Emotionally-Intelligent.
TINDS: What did you study in?
Shekhar: I studied finance. I always wanted to learn and study acting, get a theater arts degree or something like that but couldn’t because our financial situation wasn’t fantastic. I kind of had to do something that guaranteed me money so I made peace with it. It sucked that I couldn’t be as creative as I wanted to be in college but I am in a good position right now in terms of life. I have a job that pays well and a side hustle that I’m pursuing that has always been a dream.
TINDS: What inspired you to be the entertainer you are?
Shekhar: I always wanted to be in Bollywood movies and that’s how it started, not realizing how hard it actually is to accomplish. My passion for entertainment no matter whatever the medium is has always inspired me. I am very clear about my purpose in life which is to entertain people. I feel blessed that I know what I want to pursue and do with my life and now all I gotta do is execute.
TINDS: How’d you come up with the idea of randomly going up to people in the streets and start singing?
Shekhar: One of my friends, who’s also a singer and a content creator, suddenly hit me up one day with the idea of singing randomly on the streets. I was not a fan of the idea and initially didn’t want to participate but I believed in him. I am a very introverted person in general so this isn’t something that I would normally agree to. But we did as planned and the videos started getting viral. It was fun and a great experience definitely.
TINDS: What would you be if not a content creator?
Shekhar: I would have definitely been an actor. There’s just no doubt about that.
TINDS: Have you ever faced any unlikely situation while filming for a video?
Shekhar: When I first started filming videos, my biggest mistake was that I would go up to anyone and everyone irrespective of the fact of who they are. The streets of NY are often unpredictable and sometimes aren’t even safe. I would go up to gangsters on the street to policemen on duty. There was this one time when an officer got very aggressive and asked me to back off because he was on duty.
TINDS: Do you consider pursuing music as a career?
Shekhar: I really started off being very fascinated by Bollywood songs. A lot of people still think that is my goal. I would definitely love to be a singer but the thing is I wanna do it all and be successful at it.
TINDS: Tell us a little more about your social media journey so far?
Shekhar: I started posting videos online during COVID. TIKTOK back then was going crazy and I had no idea what to start with. So, I started this thing called Bollywood Quarantine where I asked people to suggest any Bollywood song they liked and I’d mix it for them live. I had to put in a lot of effort for that but it wasn’t growing at all. I ended up posting videos of me singing in different languages later which did very well on TIKTOK. Something that runs well on social media for a while usually hits the ceiling at some point and that’s why people have to innovate. So, after that I did my thing of hitting the streets and singing randomly in public which worked out well for me as well, content wise.
TINDS: What would your advice be to young content creators?
Shekhar: You’ve got to give it your absolute all, anybody who’s going to consider this a side hustle is not going to make it. I haven’t yet made it but I made sure to work very hard for this every single day. People need to realize that it is very important for someone to really love what they do. You gotta ask yourself how badly you want this. Failure is part of the process and it shouldn’t stop somebody from keeping at it. Consistency is key.
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